Today: Jul 20, 2024

€4 million funding secured by University of Tartu startup

7 months ago

UP Catalyst, a spin-off of the University of Tartu, has secured €4 million in funding. The funding will be used to expand the production of carbon materials and graphite derived from carbon dioxide emissions, providing European battery manufacturers with a sustainable source of raw materials. With China’s announcement of export curbs on graphite, the funding has added urgency to the search for local alternatives. Currently, Europe relies on graphite imports for 99% of its supply. The funding will enable UP Catalyst to build an industrial pilot reactor and significantly increase its production capabilities. The company aims to become one of the largest providers of green graphite in the world.

The funding round was led by climate tech VC fund Extantia and was supported by Estonia’s state fund SmartCap, as well as existing investors Sunly, Little Green Fund, Scottish Baltic Invest, and UniTartu Ventures. The new reactor will have a production capacity ten times larger than the current setup and will serve as an important milestone before the construction of a full-scale industrial reactor unit.

The investment in UP Catalyst is strategically important as the global demand for graphite is expected to outstrip supply, creating an annual deficit of 700,000 tons by 2030. By replacing fossil-based graphite with UP Catalyst’s green graphite, battery anodes can become carbon dioxide-negative, helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 118.7 megatons annually by 2030.

UP Catalyst is closely linked with the University of Tartu and has successfully completed the university’s pre-incubation program. The company is also part of the portfolio of UniTartu Ventures and was awarded the title of the University of Tartu’s Research-Intensive Spin-off of the Year. The involvement of new investors demonstrates UP Catalyst’s capabilities and its contribution to the development of science and technology in Estonia.